Egypt's cabinet urges severe penalties against drug use by gov't employees

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-14 19:26:41|Editor: xuxin
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CAIRO, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Prime Minster Mostafa Madbouly urged the cabinet to enhance penalties against drug-addicted civil servants in the wake of last month's deadly train crash in Cairo, Ahram-run newspaper reported on Thursday.

The prime minister reviewed ongoing efforts to amend a legislation in order to enhance deterrence against using drugs by the government employees.

He gave directives to consider needed legislative amendments in order to be adopted as soon as possible.

The PM's instructions came after a railway employee investigated for deadly train crash in Cairo was tested positive for narcotics.

The train accident that took place on Feb. 27 killed 22 persons and injured dozens.

The deputy head of parliament's transport committee said that the train driver involved in the fatal crash had previously been suspended from work for six months due to drug use.

According to the prosecution, prior to the crash, the driver of the locomotive that ultimately caused the deadly accident got off the train, without shutting off its engine, just to argue with another train's driver.

The unmanned locomotive then moved at a maximum speed towards the station until it collided with a concrete barrier at the end of the line and burst into flames.

"The anti-drugs laws should be applied on all employees in state institutions," Madbouly said, adding that punishment will also be inflicted on those who commit drug abuse.

In a cultural symposium held on Sunday by Egypt's Armed Forces on the occasion of Martyrs' Day, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said "we have introduced amendments to the new civil service law to fix the performance of civil servants upon which anyone who is proven to be addicted to drugs will be sacked."

"Those who are habitual users of drugs will be immediately fired. This work will be done with full honesty and all the state facilities will be included," he added.

Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali reviewed the national plan on anti-drug addiction besides the addiction detection campaigns launched in 2019.

"The number of drug addicts who have been seeking the medication from the state anti-drugs center gradually increased," she noted.

Wali added that more than 8,000 persons with governmental jobs have been tested and reported to their places of work.

School drivers, railway employees and university students in Egypt faced more compulsory drug tests after the train accident.

Nearly 30 school bus drivers are being prosecuted after being tested positive for hashish, morphine or tramadol, a cheap medicine that is popular among low-income earners.

Out of 5,000 railway employees tested, many were positive, Amr Osman, director of the Fund for Drug Control and Treatment, told Xinhua.

Those tested positive were referred to the public prosecutor, he said, adding the offenders will face imprisonment for at least two years and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (575.7 U.S. dollars).

Meanwhile, Egyptian Naval Forces thwarted on Wednesday the smuggling of eight tons of drugs in the western coast.

Egypt suffers a high rate of drug smuggling, abusing and addiction with about 10.4 percent of the population aged from 15 to 65 taking drugs, according to Egypt's official statistics.

Hashish, painkillers such as Tramadol and Tamol, heroin and marijuana are the most prevalent drugs in Egypt and the police crack an average of 200 drug-related cases every year, the statistics added.